Opener KL Rahul was on the verge of his fourth century as India made a solid start in reply to England’s 477 all out at lunch on the third day of the final Test on Sunday. (LIVE BLOG)
Rahul, who crossed his first 50 mark in a home Test, was unbeaten on 89 (157 balls, 8x4, 2x6) and Cheteshwar Pujara was on 11, with India 173 for one. (LIVE SCORECARD)
The hosts were still 304 runs behind England’s first innings total, but looked on course for a big total on a flat MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch the visiting bowlers struggled as much as the hosts had on the first two days.
Rahul and stand-in Parthiv Patel (71) put on a record opening partnership for India against England at home – bettering the 135 put on by Sunil Gavaskar and Farokh Engineer at Mumbai in 1973 --- after Murali Vijay could not open due to a bruised shoulder suffered while fielding on Saturday.
Rahul, playing in his 12th Test, batted with authority, after dispatching debutant left-arm spinner Liam Dawson for big sixes to get him off the attack early in the day. With Patel too playing positively at the other end, Rahul attacked pacer Stuart Broad as well as off-spinner Moeen Ali on a flat MA Chidambaram Stadium pitch.
The pair raised a 151-run partnership, the best by India’s openers in this series before Patel miscued a flick off off-spinner Moeen Ali to Jos Buttler at point.
The Karnataka batsman has shown his quality since he scored a century in his second Test in Sydney on the 2014-15 tour, and has also overcome the role as a third opener in the squad.
Patel, who spent almost 13-and-a-half hours at a stretch on the field, got out against the run of play. The left-handed batsman got his career-best score, and sixth Test fifty, scoring heavily on the leg-side and with wristy shots.
India lead the five-match series 3-0.